Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Who do you thank for your freedom? How about Isadora Duncan?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 12:07 PM

On Facebook of late there has been a variation of the following:

Next time you want to thank someone for your freedom, thank a vet.

Nice and uncomplicated, and not terribly hare to understand.

That it is also simplistic beyond belief in its appeal should be troubling, yet if one dares to bring up that fact, the question of one’s patriotism (oh, how we love to play that game in this country - just like Russia) is called into question.

As one who was raised in a military family, I have little but contempt for those who would denigrate the service of those who have put on a uniform and served this country honorably over the years.

But being an American, I also revel in the history of our nation, and the contributions of so many, both in and out of uniform, who have not only defended our freedoms, but pushed the boundaries of creativity, who have opened trails for all of us to follow.

Hence, Isadora Duncan, a great choreographer and dancer.

Walt Whitman, poet.

Jack Kerouac

Elvis Presley

Harlan Ellison

Erica Jong

Joan Baez

Johnny Cash

Rod Serling

Jesse Owns

Muhammad Ali

Norman Lear

Harriet Tubman

Edward R. Murrow

The men and women who work all week long punching a time clock, and still find the time to take part in some way - no matter how large or small - in showing how much they care about their community. Those who run for office, write letters to the editor, serve on volunteer citizen committees or work up the nerve to speak at public meetings.

Those who run for local public office, or the ones who help run their campaigns.

These are among the people I thank for my freedom.

Public access television producers, who take it upon themselves to document life in their community, and present that living quilt to the rest of the world, so that they, too, might see what they see when they turn their cameras on.

The Civil Rights marchers of the 1960s, men and women of all races and faiths coming together to stand for what what they knew was right.

Those who braved the fire hoses and police dogs in the deep south, simply because they no longer accepted being seen as second-class citizens.

Those who work in alternative media, working over the years on papers that could go broke at (and so many have) at any second.

Women over the years who have faced ridicule and scorn in their stand for equal rights.

Those who march for peace.

Those who have faced down bullies - and those who have been struck down by bullies, because no help was there for them.

Those who refuse to just go away, or go back in the closet, because there are those who find them distasteful.

Those who are not bigoted against men and women of faith, who understand and respect that most of the progress in this country - especially liberal progress - would not have been possible without them.

Women who won’t be silent in church.

So, yeah, I guess maybe when I think of freedom I really do thank of veterans, except that not all them have been in uniform, nor do they have to be carrying a gun.

******

Note to U of A: If you really want to be thought of a “super-hero,” maybe there shouldn’t be any collateral damage left behind

Despite the fawning editorial in the Northwest Arkansas Times on Monday, not everyone may be willing to see the University of Arkansas as a a possible “super-hero” for, oh, here in their own words:

“If the University of Arkansas had a cape, it's likely some of its nearby neighbors might consider it a superhero.

For months, some homeowners near West Cleveland Street and North Hall Avenue, just west of Leverett Elementary, have been fighting construction of a 122-unit, 450-bedroom apartment complex there.

The proposed Project Cleveland is just across the street from what has long been the northern border of the UA campus.

The city of Fayetteville took its final action on the property's future June 20, with the City Council voting 6-2 in favor of a planned zoning district for the private project's development.

Four residents filed a lawsuit over the decision in July, hoping once more to find a way to stop Project Cleveland. The lawsuit effectively did that temporarily.

Then (cue the superhero music), in swoops the University of Arkansas with its seemingly everflowing cash reserves with a $2.25 million offer for the property. The offer to property owner Fadil Bayyari matches what's on the table from Specialized Real Estate Group of Springdale . . .”

In early days of DC Comics, Superman often fought on the side of landlords and property owners, so I guess that the UA would fit right into whatever sort of “Justice” League would accept it. Later, of course, Superman started caring more about people as individuals, a stage of evolution the “super-hero” UA hasn’t quite reached as of yet.

This property isn’t the only one the UA has its eyes on in its quest for lebensraum. And once again, the inconvenient question - the question of collateral damage - is not addressed.

Does anyone already live on this property?

Where will they end up moving to?

Fayetteville has a sad history in recent years of applauding pretty buildings over the rights of the folks who may be unceremoniously moved out to make room for them. And the question of where they go to next is just never brought up - certainly not by anyone who has been elected to public office.

It would be, like, rude.

Still, there may well be one super-hero the UA may be compared to at times like this:

The Incredible Hulk, with his famous cry of “Hulk Smash!”

*****

Quote of the Day

“The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

rsdrake@cox.net

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